As you enjoy a break from the working world on Monday, give a little nod of thanks to George Washington.While today might be referred to as Presidents Day, its really all about George. In fact, the official name of the holiday is Washingtons Birthday, but retailers have convinced us otherwise.

The government did consider changing the name of the holiday in 1951, with a Congressional proposal to celebrate all the leaders of the U.S., but the government never got around to formally doing so. The closest they got was 17 years later, when lawmakers did pass the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, moving the celebration from founding father George Washingtons actual birthday (Feb. 22) to the third Monday of February. 

Presidents Day as we know it today was born in the 1980s, after retailers noted the close proximity of Washingtons birthday and that of Abraham Lincoln (born Feb. 12). Someone in some marketing department decided Presidents Day was catchier and it ultimately became the way we all think of today.


Presidents Day, like many Federal holidays, typically comes with some confusion. Some offices are closed. Others are operating normally. And if youve got bank business to conduct or a meeting with a government official, there are better than average odds that youre not going to get it done today.

Heres a look at whos open and closed on Presidents Day 2023.

What is Presidents Day?

Formally, today is meant to specifically honor George Washington and his contributions to the country, but Presidents Day has informally been expanded in recent years to honor other presidents, including Abraham Lincoln (born Feb. 12) and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April).

Its an unusual holiday, in that its better known by its informal name (Presidents Day) than its official one (Washingtons Birthday). In fact, there are as many as 15 different names for this day among the states, with Presidents Day, Presidents Day, and Presidents Day all widely used.

Are banks open on Presidents Day?

Nope. Presidents Day is a federal holiday, meaning most banks will take the day off. You can, of course, still use ATM machines to get cash or put money into your account.

Will there be any mail delivery on Presidents Day?

Not from the U.S. Postal Service. Mail delivery is suspended that day, but UPS and FedEx continue to conduct business as usual, including deliveries for all divisions. In addition, all of their drop off locations will have normal hours. Ground service for both could see some interruptions, however, due to the USPS closure.

Is the stock market open on Presidents Day?

Its not. The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and bond markets are all closed today. Their next scheduled holiday is Good Friday on April 7.

Are government offices open on Presidents Day?

Federal offices will be closed, and virtually all city, county and state divisions take a day off as well. That means everything from DMV offices to courts and city halls will not be accessible.  Schools, in general, are shut down for the day as well.

Which retail and grocery stores are closed on Presidents Day?

Essentially none. While this is a big government holiday, no major retailer shuts down for Presidents Day. Many, in fact, offer special sales with discounts on clothing, electronics, mattresses and furniture.

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